For years I’ve written for print publications. Newspapers like The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. Magazines like Travel & Leisure, Gourmet, Saveur, Modern Maturity, and Garden Design. But not until recently have I ever written for an online magazine. Thanks to the two-year lockdown caused by the pandemic, I found myself spending (too much) time on my laptop when by chance I came upon an online magazine of personal essays with the intriguing name of Dorothy Parker’s Ashes. It described itself as “Brazen words by witty dames. Everything true. More or less.” Though that’s not how I would describe myself or my written words, and after having read some of the back issues, I knew I wanted to write for Dorothy Parker’s Ashes.

Every issue has a theme and the theme for the next issue, I learned, would be libido. The theme did give me pause, but only briefly while I searched my memory for what I could possibly write that would fit the bill. In the end, I wrote “Pavel, Paris, Prague” about my wonder years living in Europe and a particular person who was instrumental in making them so wonderful. When the editors of the zine accepted my essay, I was delighted—actually, overjoyed—just as I am delighted to share the essay with you. I’m proud to be among the extraordinary women, including Vivian Gornick and Marge Piercy, who count themselves as contributors to the zine. You’ll see what I mean when you read their stories and poems. They’re like potato chips. You can’t eat just one.

Image: Poppies by Georgia O’Keeffe